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iPhone 12 comes with free EarPods in France thanks to radiation laws

Steve Dent
·Associate Editor
·1-min read

Apple announced on Tuesday that it will ship the new iPhone 12 models without EarPods or a power adapter, as a way to prevent the accessories from ending up in landfills. In France, however, the new devices will have earphones in the coffret, likely thanks to a quirk of local laws, as spotted by MacRumors.

As MacRumors noted, French law now requires that smartphones be bundled with “hands-free kits” or a “headset” in order to protect children age 14 and younger from electromagnetic radiation. That’s because the government doesn’t believe that health effects of long-term radiation exposure from smartphones is settled science, particularly with children, according to a summary of the law. User manuals and packaging, along with any ads, must also recommend the use of a hands-free kit, or risk a 75,000 euro ($87,000) fine.

Any object containing radio equipment cannot be distributed for payment or free of charge without a wired, solid and reliable headset. User manuals and packaging for mobile phone devices must contain clear and visible information prompting the use of a wired headset.

Fear of the effects of radiation have affected smartphone use in other ways in France, too. The nation has seen protests in various cities against 5G, with some elected officials calling for delays in its deployment over health concerns and landscape blight.

Apple, meanwhile, says that shipping iPhones without EarPods reduces carbon emissions, rare-earth mining and e-waste. The iPhone 12 also ships in a thinner box, so Apple said it can fit 70 percent more devices onto a single pallet. If you do need a pair, it has lowered the price with a Lightning connector from $29 to $19.